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A collection of the works of American photographer Duane Michals, an innovative and influential artist who has reinvented the medium as an instrument of thought and emotion rather than simply an instrument for recording the visible world. Using works from his entire career, the photographs are grouped together according to the themes that have preoccupied him, rather than on the basis of chronology or formal resemblances. Here can be found some of his best loved works, illuminating his breadth of vision, notably his portraits of artists including Warhol and Duchamp and of actors such as Warren Beatty and Jeanne Moreau. The work collected here demonstrates the rare ability of an artist to be freed from all restraints and preconceptions while remaining true to himself.
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Proverbially already worth a thousand words each, Michals' photographs usually have several more words attached to them. No pure visualist, Michals conceives scenarios for his images and handwrites titles and texts directly on the same photographic paper that bears the pictures. One recurring theme of his work is that photography captures only appearance, not reality in all its sensory, temporal, and cognitive complexity. The text to an image of an all-but-nude young man comments wittily on this limitation: "He was unaware that at the exact moment he removed his undershirt, his body had grown to its perfection. With his next breath, the moment had passed." Also recurrent are fresh-faced young beauties of both sexes, a refined gay sensibility (two of Michals' book projects are homages to the poets Cavafy and Whitman), humor (see the silly, lightly homoerotic "Burlesque"), natural light (a Michals preference that makes his work recall the window-lit paintings of Vermeer), and love (outstanding in the stunning realization of "The Return of the Prodigal Son"). Ray Olson
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Book Description Thames & Hudson Ltd, 1997. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110500542147